PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Virginians voted for change in November in all major statewide offices, but 10 On Your Side has learned about how some personnel changes have been handled during the transition and how the abrupt change could impede the commonwealth’s continued progress.
A former employee in the Virginia Attorney General’s Office says they were surprised by an email they received on Friday morning.
They asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation.
The email told them their time with the office would end on Saturday at noon, the same time the inauguration started.
The surprise wasn’t about being let go; change is expected with each new administration. The surprise stems from the way it was handled.
The former employee as well as another former employee belonged to a department dealing with programming and outreach.
This included human trafficking and crime prevention programming statewide.
The employees say their abrupt firing didn’t provide them with a chance to brief incoming employees about their positions, as typically done in the past.
Miyares’s administration fired seven people from the roughly 20-person department.
Those 10 On Your Side spoke to say the subject matter they deal with needs to be handled carefully, specifically when dealing with victims of human trafficking.
They say they’re worried about how the victims, whose trust they worked to build, would process their sudden departures and reappointments by strangers they’ve never met.
The AG’s office said over 30 personnel changes have taken place out of their roughly 500-plus employees in Richmond.
10 On Your Side asked the AG’s Office whether they intended to continue the work of the commonwealth or start over.
In a statement to 10 On Your Side, the administration said:
We aren’t starting over at all. We had two months of a transition where we were able to closely examine the office and decided to make a small amount of personnel changes. The AG has hired a number of qualified public servants who bring solid private and public sector experience, that will strengthen our community programs, legal work across the Commonwealth and help the AG bring the change and fresh perspective he promised to Virginians.
Because the personnel changes were so minimal and there’s an abundance of records and personnel in each division, we fully expect the transition and continuation of cases to be seamless.Victoria LaCivita – Director Of Communications, Attorney General’s Office
Last week, the attorney general announced the appointment of former House of Delegates candidate Tanya Gould to work as the director of anti-human trafficking.
She is expected to fill the other open position dealing with human trafficking.
The Attorney General’s Office also said feedback from law enforcement influenced their decisions about where to make cuts and adjustments within their various units.